Russia 2002

Russia 2002

Russia 2002

After catching up with all the e-mails this morning, it was 9:30am before I went downstairs to breakfast.  This might suggest a good night’s sleep last night, but having got to bed at about 1:15am I was awake (responding to my alarm) at 7:30am - the e-mails took ages to answer and I am looking forward to a good rest this evening.

We were collected from the hotel at 10:30am in an Australian Embassy Combi bus and taken to the Australian Embassy, just seven kilometres away at 13c1 Kropotkinskiy Lane, but half an hour’s drive given the heavy traffic.  The Australian Embassy is in a wonderful stately heritage-listed Russian house, and it was fascinating to see inside; we were given a quick tour of the downstairs area.

We also met the Chargé d’Affairs (i.e. the Deputy Ambassador), a pleasant though quite overweight fellow who gave us an excellent briefing on the Bali bombings and the security position etc.  In fact, it is much easier to get news in English here in Moscow than in the cities where we have been travelling, and Russia’s two English language newspapers, which are given away free in the hotel, had excellent summaries of events that brought me up to speed very well, supplementing English language satellite channels on the hotel TV.

We spent three and a half hours at the Embassy, most of which was spent de-briefing the expos in Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Yekaterinburg, including a lovely lunch.  It was an illuminating time, and certainly highlighted the importance of having good local agents to recruit students.  I am sure that the key to our future recruiting success will be cultivating a good agent in each of these four cities by sending brochures, publications and up-to-date information from time to time.

After the Embassy visit there were only a couple of hours of light left in the day.  The weather today in Moscow has been lousy, with heavy overcast conditions all day, snow this morning turning to rain and slush this afternoon, and dull, dreary grey conditions.  Despite the terrible weather, I did take the Metro to Red Square and GUM to have a look around, but I didn’t stay long because it was so uncomfortable walking around in those conditions.

So all that remains now is to get that long overdue early night and hibernate in preparation for the long flight home that starts on Friday morning.

Day 15


Wednesday 16 October 2002